As the title says, this is the Memoir of a Mountain Guide. Actually it is the memoir of one of America's first and greatest mountain guides. It is truly a fascinating, well-written story but it is not adventure writing. Do not expect the detail or suspense of John Krakauer, Art Davidson, Heinrich Harrer, or Maurice Herzog. It reads more like sitting down across the table with Lou and having him tell you his story over a couple of beers. This is probably because it is the result of Lou telling his story to Andrea Gabbard who in turn wrote the book.
Lou's story is much different than many of the great mountaineers. While he obviously pushed himself to the top of some of the world's tallest and most difficult peaks, since his hear fall on Mount Index in Washington he remained a more conservative climber not willing to trade his life for any mountain summit. In fact, he makes the point of saying the last place he wants to die is on a mountain; he wants to die old sitting in his chair watching TV. Also, as expedition leader, he viewed success as putting team members on the summit and this often did not include himself.
In addition to his story, his climbs, and his life as a mountain climber and guide, he gives a detailed description of Mount Rainier and a historical view of how mountain climbing progressed over the years. Probably the best thing of all though, is the look at a person's life who dedicated themselves to following a passion rather than relegating it to a weekend hobby; it was a long career in the making for him, but it shows that we can make our lives what we want if only we have the courage, persistence, and dedication to try.
"Every 'student of life', plus those interested in multi-cultural studies, women's studies and mountain climbing should see this film" - Metropolitan Theater, Spokane, WA.
DOCUMENTARY WINNER TELLURIDE INDIEFEST
By combining an inside look at the origins of Himalayan mountaineering with the story of the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute 28-day women's course, "Sherpa- The Proving Grounds" utilizes climbing legends such as Jim Whittaker and Nawang Gombu Sherpa to tell an unconventional story. Already regarded as controversial in many climbing circles, this film compels viewers to look at the term "Mountaineer" closely. Weaved within the trials and tribulations of the Sherpa tribe are the struggles and successes of the women, many of them Sherpa, as they undertake the demanding training program. Some are there simply to test their physical and mental capabilities while others strive to become the backbone of modern-day high-altitude expeditions. For whatever reasons, they all will find their own personal Summit.
Seattle International Film Festival, Maui Film Festival, Ashland Independent Film Festival, Chugach Mountain Film Festival, Telluride Independent Film Festival.
DVD Running time: 72 minutes